Chino Hills had another statement victory over FAB 50 ranked Wasatch Academy in the marquee game of the Rolling Hills Prep State Preview Classic presented by Scorebooklive. Chino Hills has now won 58 games in a row, eight from tying the reported state record of 66 held by Compton (1967-69).
2017 Rolling Hills Prep State Preview Classic Results
State No. 2 Chino Hills 106, Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah) 80
Li’Angelo Ball (Chino Hills) 32 pts; Eli Scott (Chino Hills) 26 pts, 16 rbs; La’Melo Ball (Chino Hills) 33 pts, 15 asts; Josip Vrankic (Wasatch Academy) 28 pts, 11 rbs; Emmanuel Akot (Wasatch Academy) 17 pts, 6 rbs
It wasn’t quite last year’s epic showdown vs. Bishop Montgomery that Chino Hills pulled out, but the defending CIF Open and mythical national champions had a test against a nationally-ranked opponent and passed it with flying colors, as the Huskies extended its current winning streak to 58 games. Chino Hills now owns the fourth longest winning streak in state history after tying Drake of San Anselmo in Friday’s win over state-ranked Damien of La Verne.
Chino Hills, which is now 23-0 this season, led 15-4, but Wasatch Academy stormed back to cut its deficit to 17-15. It looked like it could be competitive game throughout, but after Chino Hills closed out the first quarter with a 10-0 run, the visitors from Utah never really challenged again. It was 27-15 at the end of the first quarter and 60-35 at halftime.
Without 2015-16 Mr. Basketball Lonzo Ball, Chino Hills hasn’t missed a beat because the team’s four returning starters are much improved. With sophomore Onyeka Okongwu controlling the paint as he did against Wasatch Academy, Eli Scott rebounding and finishing, and with Gelo Ball’s scoring, this team has too many weapons for most high school teams to stop. The catalyst and most improved player, however, is sophomore guard La’Melo Ball. He has grown in height and physically and is the team’s catalyst. Melo Ball is also a showman and nows how to play to the crowd and on Saturday night it definitely felt it got its money’s worth. He was throwing lobs, finishing around the rim and finding cutters with nifty passes. This team also has a much deeper bench it can utilize than last year’s 35-0 club.
Note: Chino Hills is ranked No. 7 in the FAB 50; Wasatch Academy is ranked No. 50.
State No. 3 Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 79, State No. 8 Fairfax (Los Angeles) 55
Ethan Thompson (Bishop Montgomery) 26 pts, 8 rbs; David Singleton (Bishop Montgomery) 17 pts, 9 rbs; Jamal Hartwell (Fairfax) 24 pts
Fairfax was playing without its top overall player, sophomore guard Ethan Anderson, and it just didn’t have enough offensive firepower to stay with one of the nation’s top teams that seems to be hitting its stride as the CIF Southern Section Open Division playoffs approach. According to his father, Anderson will likely be out two more weeks. Bishop Montgomery appeared to be the bigger team and got off to a good start leading 14-2. Fairfax, which was never really in the game, got 14 points from junior guard Jamal Hartwell in the third period. Other than that, the Lions were flat offensively and suffered their second loss of the season. Their other loss came against Torrey Pines in its house in December.
Note: Bishop Montgomery is ranked No. 19 in the FAB 50.
State No. 19 Santa Margarita 52, State No. 14 Centennial (Corona) 51
Kaden Rasheed (Santa Margarita) 15 pts; Jalen Hill (Centennial) 15 pts, 13 rbs, Gio Nelson 15 pts
In a game of runs and fairly evenly matched teams, Santa Margarita rallied from a 27-18 halftime deficit to take a late lead. At the end of the game, Centennial had an opportunity to tie, but just missed tying the game by inches. After Kaden Rasheed gave Santa Margarita a 52-49 lead courtesy of two free throws with 10 seconds remaining, Centennial was looking to potentially take the game into overtime on a 3-pointer or conventional 3-point play. UCLA-bound Jalen Hill had a 3-point attempt blocked, but the Huskies got one more chance at it. Isom Butler found UC-Davis bound Gio Nelson in the corner for what appeared to be a 3-pointer. Nelson hit the shot in front of his own bench and it appeared the game would go into overtime.
The referees ruled the shot counted as the Centennial bench celebrated, but after a brief huddle, they ruled it was a a two-pointer. Centennial was stunned and argued the call. Video on social media appeared to show just a shade of Nelson’s shoe on the 3-point line. This game was important for CIFSS Open Division positioning and this game will likely have an impact on it. The game was decided by mere inches and that’s how close the difference is between many of the teams fighting for an open division spot.
State No. 10 Alemany (Mission Hills) 85, Santa Monica 65
Ernie Sears (Alemany) 25 pts, 8 rbs; D.J. McDonald (Alemany) 21 pts; Fred Odihiambo 11 pts, 11 rbs, 7 blks; De’sean Allen-Elkens (Santa Monica) 24 pts
Alemany jumped out to a 10-0 lead and never looked back as it battles for a high CIF Southern Section Open Division playoff seed. Alemany led 45-28 at halftime and the outcome was never in doubt. As it stands, Alemany would be in line for a No. 5 or No. 6 seed. We have them ranked higher than Roosevelt in our state top 20, but one of its three losses is to Centennial, a team the Mustangs have now beaten three times.
State No. 13 Sheldon (Sacramento) 64, Orange Lutheran 63
Elishja Duplechan (Sheldon) 20 pts; Chris Williams (Orange Lutheran) 19 pts
The Huskies, the No. 2 ranked team in NorCal behind state No. 5 Woodcreek, got off to a tremendously slow start. It didn’t help that they came without their jerseys. They wore Cerritos College practice jerseys but were playing like a JayVee team to begin the game. Sheldon fell behind 49-31 in the third quarter, but played like a junior college team the rest of the way.
Sheldon stormed back to tie the game at 49-49 behind its defense. On the game’s last possession, the Huskies held Orange Lutheran for 14.3 seconds with excellent man-to-man defense and OLU was unable to get a quality look. With the win, Sheldon upped its season record to 19-2, with losses to No. 2 Chino Hills and a young, but talented, San Joaquin Memorial of Fresno club.
Maranatha (Pasadena) 64, Durango (Las Vegas) 58
Sean Espinosa (Maranatha) 25 pts; Anthony Hunter (Durango) 18 pts
Serra (Gardena) 66, Loyola (Los Angeles) 59
Kobe Smith (Serra) 15 pts; E.J. Jackson (Serra) 15 pts; Neil Owens (Loyola) 16 pts
Rolling Hills Prep (San Pedro) 67, Brentwood (Los Angeles) 45
Chris Koon (RHP) 23 pts; Brett Polson (Brentwood) 9 pts